Shuffle Master gains entry into New York casinos

Table game provider Shuffle Master is finding its way into New York’s slot machine-only casino market.

The Las Vegas-based company’s electronic table games — currently just an electronic version of roulette — have been approved for use at the state’s racetrack casinos.

The Monticello Casino and Raceway recently began operating electronic roulette, following the initial installation of electronic table games at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway in September.

Other New York racetrack casinos, including Genting New York’s temporary casino at Aqueduct in New York City, will implement the games throughout 2011.

Shuffle Master’s electronic roulette game — Vegas Star — is being placed under a gaming license that belongs to lottery companies G-Tech and Spielo.

Shuffle Master was able to place dealer-less, multi-player electronic blackjack and three card poker tables in Pennsylvania’s slot machine-only casinos over the past few years. The state legalized live table games earlier this year.

Union Gaming Group Principal Bill Lerner thought New York could become a leading market for electronic table game installations over the next few years. He predicted the state’s lottery division, which oversees the racetrack casinos, would eventually approve electronic blackjack, Three Card Poker and other games.

For New York to allow live table games, it would take passage of a statewide voter referendum and two separate legislative approvals.

“Given the complex and drawn-out process of amending the state’s constitution to allow for live table games, electronic table games will be the only table games solution over at least the near to medium term,” Lerner said.

Electronic table games give Shuffle Master an entry point into slot machine-only states. Still, the company has been able to transition from an electronic-only market when the switch is made to live table games.

In Pennsylvania, Shuffle Master sold automated card shufflers and other table game management systems, as well as placing live versions of Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, and other table game titles it owns.

Shuffle Master also announced this week it signed a strategic alliance with Reno-based Leap Forward Gaming, a wireless technology provider. The companies will work on developing wireless products for casino floors.